WASHINGTON, D.C., 06/09/2022 – Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) announced the craft, startup and small production Brand Representatives for the 2022 WSWA Access Craft Advisory Council. Nine emerging brands from across the country have joined ten returning members of the council. WSWA’s Access Craft initiative has been extremely successful since its inception in December 2020 in featuring expert guidance, resources and best practices to help brands navigate industry challenges and identify opportunities to get to market. The 2021 Advisory Council was instrumental in the production of Access Craft’s first Distribution Playbook and the new members will play a vital role in the second edition of this industry resource.
Meet the 2022 WSWA Access Craft Advisory Council Brand Representatives:
- Scott Neil, American Freedom Distillery
- Chris Papariello, Brandywine Branch Distillery
- Hatton Smith, Campesino Rum
- Patrick Jean-Baptiste, Crafthouse Cocktails
- Phillip Rawleigh, Distillery 291
- Nick Ladig, Hotel Tango Distillery
- Kevin L. John, IslandJon
- Bob Gunter, Kōloa Rum
- Mimi Buttenheim, Mad River Distillers
- Subir Singh, Mico Spirits
- Alexei Khimenko, MyStory Wine
- René Paz Muñozcano, QM Spirits LLC
- Susan Lambert, Remington Family Distillers
- Phil Brandon, Rock Town Distillery
- John Bilello, Sweet Amber Distilling Co.
- Steve Luttmann, Hercules Mulligan
- Jay Finnigan, Traverse City Whiskey Company
- Atlas Cheek, Treaty Oak Distilling Company
- Kyle Kent, Vodkyte Corporation
"Since winning WSWA’s 2021 Brand Battle Championship and being accepted into WSWA Access Craft initiative, Campesino Rum has benefitted greatly from the opportunity to connect with thought leaders from the distribution tier,” said Hatton Smith, Founder and President of Campesino Rum. “Access Craft is true to its name by giving independent brands a chance to gain valuable access into a world where prior, it was extremely difficult to make these connections and access marketplaces. We are looking forward to continuing to build relationships within the industry through WSWA Access Craft, particularity in person with the 2023 WSWA Access LIVE tradeshow and exposition event.”
“I'm honored to be a member of the WSWA Access Craft Advisory Council. I am excited to bring a new generation of small batch, handcrafted spirits to the marketplace,” said Rene Paz, Managing Partner, QM Spirits. “I am excited to share my experience, full of ups and downs, as an active part of the spirits industry. This is the dream of any spirits entrepreneur.”
"I'm honored to represent Hotel Tango Distillery on the WSWA Access Craft Advisory Council this year along with some other industry leaders I really respect,” said Nick Ladig, President, Hotel Tango Distillery. “It is patently challenging to grow a spirits brand from scratch in this industry without having incredibly deep pockets or built-in relationships. I look forward to using the familiarity gained over the years at Hotel Tango to help develop the landscape and increase access for fellow producers while lifting the industry up as a whole.”
"I'm excited to be chosen as a Brand Representative for the 2022 WSWA Access Craft Advisory Council. It's a special opportunity to learn from industry leaders across the three-tier system and discuss my most pressing challenges with industry-insiders who have seen it all before,” said Kyle Kent, Chief Operating Officer, Vodkyte.
“I am honored to have been chosen to the WSWA Access Craft Advisory Council and I look forward to working on the team to help move forward the craft spirit category in the U.S. market,” said Chris Papariello, President and Board Member, Brandywine Branch Distillers. “Brandywine Branch Distillers is located in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Our philosophy is rooted in radical curiosity, bold experimentation, and love for one-of-a-kind experiences. Resurgent is our whiskey brand that is enjoying incredible success in our home state and we will soon have enough product to fill the need outside of Pennsylvania.”
"I'm honored to be part of the WSWA Access Craft Advisory Council and to share my learnings and best practices from twelve years as a leading craft distillery,” said Phil Brandon, President, Rock Town Distillery. “I also look forward to having the opportunity to learn from others. It's true that helping others to succeed is the fastest way to achieve your own success and I look forward to accomplishing that with Access Craft.”
"Innovation will always be a major driver of our industry’s growth, and Craft spirits continue to be a major driver of spirits innovation. At Hercules Mulligan, we focus on delivering a craft cocktail in a bottle with a truly unique brand story. As a member of the WSWA Access Advisory Council, I look forward to engaging other leaders in the emerging brands space to help unlock further innovation growth in our industry," said Steve Luttman, Founder of Hercules Mulligan.
About Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America
WSWA is the national trade association representing the distribution tier of the wine and spirits industry, dedicated to advancing the interests and independence of distributors and brokers of wine and spirits. Founded in 1943, WSWA has more than 380 member companies in 50 states and the District of Columbia, and its members distribute more than 80 percent of all wine and spirits sold at wholesale in the United States.
About WSWA Access Craft
Launched in December 2020, WSWA Access is an initiative by Wine & Spirit Wholesalers of America on a mission to develop and work closely with craft, start-up and small production wine & spirits brands by providing expert guidance, resources and best practices that help labels navigate industry challenges and identify opportunities in an effort to further enhance a smartly regulated and successful U.S. alcohol marketplace.